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Early rollout of Pfizer's new pill 'Paxlovid' can control Omicron surge: Canada's health experts Pfizer oral pills
Image credit: Pfizer website

Early rollout of Pfizer's new pill 'Paxlovid' can control Omicron surge: Canada's health experts

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 18 Jan 2022, 11:45 pm

Ottawa/IBNS: Canada's health experts are optimistic that an early rollout of the approved Paxlovid, Pfizer’s new pill for the treatment of COVID-19,  can help control the surge of Omicron.

Adults aged 18 and older with a confirmed positive test and at a high risk of becoming seriously ill can be administered the prescription-only medication in pill form, says Health Canada.

“The authorization today provides a new tool the toolkit against COVID-19 at a crucial time the pandemic as we’re faced with new variants. Importantly, it is a more accessible antiviral treatment for those at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19,” said Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser Supriya Sharma, during a technical briefing discussing Paxlovid’s authorization on Jan 17.

“No drug, including Paxlovid, is a substitute for vaccination,” she said. 

The active ingredient nirmatrelvir in PAXLOVIDTM works by stopping the virus from replicating, says Health Canada.

Unlike authorized medications for COVID-19 that had to be taken in a hospital or healthcare setting,  PAXLOVIDTM is the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home, they added.

The drug is intended for use as soon as possible after a diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms, says Health Canada.

The government of Canada has received an initial shipment of 30,400 treatment courses of PAXLOVIDTM with 120,000 more expected to be delivered between now and the end of March, Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced on Jan 17.

Getting that limited supply out in time to mitigate the pressure on hospitals is challenging and the impact likely won't be felt anytime soon.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)